During an event recently acknowledging Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Attorney General Eric Holder made false assertions about “intimate partner abuse.” He claimed that “intimate partner homicide” (IPV) is the leading cause of death for black women ages 15-45. A simple fact check that any low-level intern could complete in five minutes would prove Attorney General Holder’s statement false.
Keep in mind that Mr. Holder heads the Department of Justice and that his distortions of fact are cited as authoritative by the media and appear as official fact in a wide variety of government publications and academic studies. In spite of wide dissemination of the myth, the truth clearly refutes Holder’s claims: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) list the leading causes of death for African-American women (Mr. Holder’s Department of Justice figures agree with the CDC), and homicides from intimate partner violence don’t even make the list:
- Cancer (2,192)
- Heart Disease (1,769)
- Accidents (1,528)
- HIV (1,261)
False information that appears to be “official” is very troubling because that information is used to determine priorities in spending for law enforcement, limits the grant funding for legitimate services to victims, and is influential in court cases. Research conducted by Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) “shows that 60 percent of domestic violence allegations are unnecessary or false.”
Remember the campaign promises of President Obama that “the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over”? Forget about that!! The falsity of Holder’s ideological statement was noted by Christina Hoff Sommers, who called on Holder to correct his statement. Others were equally outraged — including the Examiner and PajamasMedia — at the misrepresentation that distorts the public’s perceptions, slants official reports about abuse of women, and ends up causing men to be falsely accused and even arrested. SAVE research indicates that 60 percent of domestic violence allegations are proven false; further SAVE’s research reveals that training programs prompted by such reports are costing taxpayers $76 million annually. Columnist Paul Elam, in an article on “A Voice for Men,” wrote, “The danger here, of course, is that by telling African-American women that the leading cause of their death is IPV, we are minimizing and helping them ignore the things that really are killing them.”
In conclusion, we must warn women that the domestic situation that is most perilous to them and their children is an unmarried household. My own research, published in Children at Risk, notes that aggressive behavior is twice as common among cohabiting partners as among married couples. A United States Justice Department Victimization Study found that 65 percent of violent crimes against women were committed by a boyfriend or ex-husband, while only nine percent were committed by husbands (Children at Risk, pp. 62-63).